As explained in the previous blog post, I love me some metal. If you ever catch me alone with some headphones, I’m probably just wrapped up in something with a hard groove and some loud drumming. You may be asking yourself, “why are you listening to this… noise?” or “how do you even keep up with this?” These answers and more will be discussed here.
There is a great video on Youtube that I reference often when explaining to people why I love it and I recommend that you watch it to get a better understanding of the genre and its followers
He hits on all the points that I love, but I wanted to give my spin on some of the topics.
Our jumping off point will be the discussion of how it all sounds identical or it’s just noisy. People that say this, have a very shallow understanding of the entire genre. Heavy Metal as a whole has been around since the 70’s when Black Sabbath came around and left one of the biggest musical footprints the world has ever seen. Many artists to this day will still cite this band as something that influenced them and drove them to want to learn music. Today, there are dozens and dozens of different sub genres of metal that people love to nitpick and place people in their own safe category because they want to have their own sound. This is the beauty of the genre to me, is that the sky is truly the limit. If you wanted to write something that is fast and full of guitar shredding, you can listen to artists like All Shall Perish
If you want something to listen to that just gets your head moving to a groove and makes you want to jump, you can listen to bands like Volumes
Or if you wanted to listen to something really Epic with a fully-fledged orchestra sound behind all the chaos, you can listen to similar sounds to Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Maybe you are looking for something more Uplifting and positive sounding, but still love the music metal gives, there are bands like Killswitch Engage
Even beyond all of this, there is still so many things that I have left unmentioned and are just out there waiting to be found or even created for everyone to enjoy.
The next argument is that people hate the vocals of it all. This is the argument that I understand the most simply because of how harsh they are. The way that I justified it was that it is just a different variation of singing. When you hear some amazing singers like Adele or Lana Del Rey, they are adored not just because of their singing talent and ability to sing the correct notes, but they are famed for having such a rich sense of emotion and creating a different sense of feeling for the listener to understand. Great singing is thought of in the same way that all music is held, in the sense that it should evoke some sort of emotional response in the person listening. When it comes to screaming, they are harnessing the same idea, but with a different set of emotions they are trying to convey. One of my favorite things about metal is the fact that it has the ability to harness the emotion of rage and frustration and put that into something audible. This is something that I feel like really lacks when it comes to any other style of music. Yes, some artists can write songs that can be considered “angry songs”, but it is hard to really feel that emotion with the music that they perform so I feel that they are limed in that regard.
This leads into the lyrics. This is another aspect that I can understand deters people away from the genre because of the dark content of the lyrical passages. This is another misconception because of the reasons listed above. The variance in metal is so vast that you can lyrically talk about whatever you want and get away with it. Granted, there are entire sub-genres dedicated to really brutal topics that some may not want to stomach, but it shouldn’t give you reason to turn your nose up at the genre as a whole. For example, All That Remains tends to talk about overcoming yourself and rising above the natural tendencies of man. And As I Lay Dying, A Christian band, often talks about prayer and their relationship with Christ.
The part that I love though is the darker end, purely for the fact that it takes a concept and turns it up to 11. For example, the band Emmure likes to talk about relationships that went sour, and in my experience when you are really invested into a relationship and it ends on a really bad note, then you have small inklings to do things that are crazy or insane. Emmure will take those urges and thoughts and put them on paper and exaggerate them to another level to create a narrative. Those narratives may be really dark and really vicious at times but the point is still there.
A great example of this is the song A.I.
The lyrics as I have interpreted go something along the lines of a toxic relationship that ends and the man loses his mind to the degree that he thinks that she “killed” the person that he was before and so he tells her in the song “Just remember, you killed me first”.
Shoot, there are even quite good love songs in metal.
Songs like Intake- Volumes feature lyrics like “I treated you like shit and you were all I ever wanted in me. I owe you it too because I missed my last chance to say that I love you”
or even bands like Silverstein have songs like “My Heroine” with lyrics like “ You taught my heart a sense I never knew I had”
Just as a whole, I will be very open to the fact that I love Metal as a genre of music and I don’t see it really ever changing. I just love how emotionally invested you have to be to be involved in the genre because it is such a passionate project to immerse yourself into and that comes off as really genuine to me. The men and women that dedicate their lives to their craft like that really earn my respect and I love that. I also love that I can always hear little influences in other types of music that I would consider to be a great idea for metal. So many things in my life to be thankful for, but there are many of those days where I am thankful that there are people out there writing and recording all this music that express how I am feeling in a more perfect way than I could ever express.